Living, Learning and Teaching
Honors College Scholar-in-Residence Spends Semester Among Students in Residence HallBy Karen Shih ’09 | Photo by John T. Consoli
When it came to the fastest commute to class this fall, Visiting Professor Gero Bauer had every faculty member at the University of Maryland beat.
“I just go downstairs from my apartment and I get to my first class of the day,” he says.
That wasn’t on Zoom—he was in a classroom teaching Honors Humanities (HH) students, thanks to a unique lodging arrangement at Anne Arundel Hall.
Bauer was the first Honors College scholar-in-residence since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the program, which started 30 years ago. He had a choice: a stipend to find his own housing, or the use of the only residence-hall faculty apartment on campus. He chose the latter.
“I wanted to immerse myself in what life on campus is like,” Bauer says.
He taught two classes: an HH course called “Queer Outlooks in Contemporary Theory and Fiction,” and an English class called “Queer Modernisms.” A scholar of German LGBTQ activism, Bauer also shared his views on queer politics in the U.S. and his home country.
HH Director Randy Ontiveros says, “We put a lot of emphasis in the program on giving students a global perspective on the humanities and why they matter in today’s world. In terms of what Gero teaches, who he is and where he’s coming from, it’s great to have him with students in this living and learning environment.”
At UMD, Bauer embraced campus life—a major adjustment from the medieval university town of Tübingen University, where he normally teaches. Without a car, he got around by bike or Shuttle-UM, and he frequented the Stamp or Route 1 restaurants for meals. He attended movie screenings by Student Entertainment Events and participated in the most quintessential American college pastime: a Terps football game.
“It was fun to see things I only knew from TV or movies, like cheerleaders and the marching band, and how the students and parents and alumni were all wearing team colors,” he says.
Back in Anne Arundel Hall, Bauer enjoyed a few faculty perks. Living in an apartment, he didn’t have to share a bathroom, and he had his own kitchen. Now, as the spring semester starts, he offers advice for the new visiting scholar who will take over the space.
“Take advantage of the fact that you’re staying right in the middle of campus,” Bauer says. “Check out the RecWell center, go see events at the student union and The Clarice, and explore all the lovely little corners and hidden spaces.”
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